Andy Griffith, TV actor and comedian, died at the age of 86 on Tuesday morning. Our parents’ generation is mourning the loss of the entertainment icon, most famous for starring in the comedy The Andy Griffith Show and the legal drama Matlock.
In honor of the “ninth best show in history,” we put together the top nine television shows of the 1960’s. These programs shaped our parents, so maybe taking a look back at these shows will help us understand our folks a little better.
1) The Andy Griffith Show (1960-68)
Griffith plays a widowed sheriff in the fictional community of Mayberry, North Carolina. In the sitcom, he deals with everyday complications from his goofy deputy Barney Fife, spinster aunt, and housekeeper Aunt Bee, and son Opie, as well as troublemakers and volatile girlfriends.
2) Bewitched (1964-72)
A witch named Samantha marries a mortal man named Darrin. She renounces magic and tries to be a normal suburban housewife, but magic continues to interfere in the couple’s life. Samantha spends the episodes trying to keep her magical powers a secret, as well as resolving the havoc caused by other witches and warlocks.
3) Bonanza (1959-73)
The second-longest running western television show follows the weekly life of the Cartwright family on their ranch in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. Unlike other westerns, Bonanza focused less on the “West” but more on the father’s three sons - the architect Adam, the warm Eric, and the fiery Joseph - and the neighborhood. The producers also dared to address social issues such as racism against African-Americans, and anti-Semitism.
4) The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-68)
Starring TV legends Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore, The Dick Van Dyke Show chronicled the work and home life of Rob Petrie, the head writer of a comedic variety show in Manhattan. Through the sitcom, we see a funny take on the TV world and domestic life.
5) The Addams Family (1964-66)
The famous creepy family and musical theme all began with this 1960’s TV show. The macabre family lives in a ghastly mansion with servants Lurch, a gigantic butler, and Thing, a disembodied hand. In the episodes, the well-intentioned Addams are confused when they freak out visitors with their supernatural abilities and ghoulish interests.
6) Gilligan’s Island (1964-67)
Gilligan’s Island told the story of seven shipwrecked members of the S.S. Minnow. The sitcom hilariously shows their mishaps and failed attempts to return home.
7) Star Trek (1966-69)
The original TV series follows Captain James T. Kirk’s crew of the starship Enterprise on its mission to “go boldly where no man has gone before.” The science fiction show won a huge cult following and has been remade into other TV shows, movies, games, and novels.
8) Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In (1967-73)
Playing on the “love-in’s” and “bet-in’s” of 60’s hippie culture, this sketch comedy used American vaudeville and burlesque traditions and delivered mostly gags and slapstick humor. Dan Rowan played the serious, reasonable co-host, while Dick Martin played the “dumb” guy. Goldie Hawn got her start on this pre-Saturday Night Live show.
9) The Twilight Zone (1959-64)
In this anthology series, each episode explores a unique paranormal, futuristic, dystopian, or other alternate universe situation. It was known for featuring both famous and rising stars and for delivering a message at the end of each episode.